When you’re constantly handling sharps, glass, and even frayed cables, you want to be sure your gloves can stand up to the punishment. You want to be confident that your needlestick gloves have been properly made to stand against the puncture hazards you encounter every day.

But what kind of technology goes into a needlestick glove? What kind of tests are conducted to ensure quality, performance, and safety for the wearer? How can you be sure your gloves actually passed that test?

How to evaluate a needlestick gloveImage of the NSIND-91 Needlestick glove by Mechanix Wear

All proper protective equipment has to be rated according to industry standards, and needlestick gloves are no different. They have a standard specifically to test if they can protect against that specific hazard. This would be the ASTM F2878-19 standard, otherwise known as the “Standard Test Method for Protective Clothing Material Resistance to Hypodermic Needle Puncture.”

The ASTM F2878-19 standard is an international standard used to determine the force required to cause a sharp-edged hypodermic needle to penetrate through protective clothing material.

The test uses three different needle gauges: 21-, 25-, or 28-gauge needles. The higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter of the needle. For perspective, a medical IV line is generally 14-gauge; when drawing blood, it is generally 16- or 18-gauge; the COVID-19 vaccine needle is 22-25-gauge, which is the customary gauge for insulin injections, though up to 30-gauge needles may be used to reduce pain and anxiety associated with the injections.

The latest ANSI ISEA 105-2016 standards edition revised the testing methods for more consistency in the manufacturing of labeled “needlestick” protective gloves. The 2016 update specifies that only a 25-gauge hypodermic needle be used in tests. This is so that all needlestick PPE manufacturers would all be using the same gauge to test and certify their gloves.

Needlestick gloves are tested by placing the test fabric between two plates in a holder. A probe then penetrates the fabric at a 90-degree angle at 500mm/minute. The test measures the amount of force needed for a sharp-edged hypodermic needle to penetrate through protective clothing. A minimum of twelve specimens and three different thin-gauge needles are used to report the classification level, and the results are reported in Newtons.

Manufacturers aren’t required to label the puncture test scores, but the gloves can be rated from a level of 1-5.

The higher the level, the greater the force required to penetrate it. Look for these ratings when you shop for needlestick gloves; those numbers will tell you how good the protection is.

It’s also important to note that no glove is 100% puncture-proof. Any glove material can be penetrated if there is enough force.

What can needlestick gloves protect against?

Apart from the obvious, needlestick gloves also protect against glass, frayed cables, splinters, knives, scalpels, and other sharp, thin hazards.

In the healthcare field alone, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there are over 385,000 needlestick injuries among healthcare professionals every year. These injuries carry significant risk of exposure to illnesses such as hepatitis B.

All these injuries would’ve been prevented had the worker had proper protection. This includes proper hand protection against needles and contaminated sharps that has been successfully tested according to the ASTM standard.

Needlestick gloves are used by medical professionals, waste handlers, law enforcement, construction, metal fabrication, machine shops, and manufacturing facilities. In the recycling industry, 99% of the time the protection requirement is to prevent a stick by a dirty hypodermic needle. The same protection levels are needed for correctional facilities and law enforcement.

How can Mechanix Wear help?

Mechanix Wear offers three needlestick solutions across all industry lines.

The first is specific to law enforcement, to ensure our first responders on the street and our correctional officers are given the greatest level of protection from these exposures. Our Leather Needlestick Law Enforcement Glove is made of ArmorCore™, a proprietary woven blend of material that creates a lightweight, single-layer of protection that provides excellent dexterity while being touch-screen compatible. It reduces hand fatigue and maintains comfort while providing 360-degree needlestick protection that also increases the cut resistance to A7 levels. The low-profile cuff is intentional to provide optimum wrist movement and the palm reinforcement enhances durability and exceptional grip.

The Industrial Needlestick Hi-Viz glove is ideal for industrial use. The Durahide™ leather offers abrasion resistance and is water resistant, cut resistant at an A5 level, and, as in its name, high visibility. The ArmorCore™ technology provides level 2 needlestick puncture protection across the palm, fingertips, and seams. The glove has excellent dexterity, durability, and comfort. Industries for which this glove was made include waste treatment/disposal, construction, transportation and towing, and wood product and metal manufacturing.

The design of the Needlestick Original® is based on our classic Original® glove, but updated to include touch, cut-resistant ArmorCore technology. It's certified to the ASTM F2878 level 2 needlestick puncture standard, and can protect against sharp hazards like glass, needles, sharp blades, and fraying cables. while remaining breathable and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

All our gloves come in a variety of sizes to ensure proper fit and comfort. For the cherry on top, employers can sign up and participate in our popular TRACK program, which allows you to test out the gloves with your front-line employees prior to committing to purchase. Within days, you will know that these gloves provide the safety, comfort, and protection levels your team needs!

Contact us today to see how our Needlestick Protection Gloves will keep you safe and productive!